Infant Car Seats and Broadside Crashes: Test Results from Consumer Reports

Consumer Reports announced today that car seats for infants often cannot withstand the impact of vehicle accidents when a vehicle strikes its side. Of the models tested in simulations of such impacts, ten failed, some of them “disastrously,” according to the magazine’s February issue.

The car seats are rear-facing models that are required in Maryland for infants up to 1-year-old or about 22 pounds. The law requires car seat manufacturers to test the seats for head-on accidents, but not for broadside crashes, which kill about 30 infants a year in the United States.

As I write this post, my wife is out purchasing new car seats for our almost three month-twins as I expect are a lot of other people in Maryland and around the country today. The irony of all of this is that I love Consumer Reports, to where I rarely buy anything other than their top-rated product. The car seats we have now been made by Britax, a product that Consumer Reports had previously rated, you guessed it, number #1. Britax also failed the test.

The other problem is just how often these seats get recalled.  All too frequently, you hear about a child seat that has this problem or that problem.  Look, every product needs to be safe.  But when we are talking about our smallest and most vulnerable, we have to amplify the importance of being safe.

You should keep your head up for recalls.

Maryland Law for Booster Seats

Last night, I saw a parent driving to my son’s baseball game with his 7-year-old son in the front seat.  In 2005, why?  Why?  Maryland law requires unambiguously requires kids under 8 to ride in the back seat with a car seat and booster seat unless they are 4’9″ or taller. This kid is 3’5 if he is an inch.

At least that was what I thought the law was until I researched this post. Kids do not have to be in the back seat. I had no idea. I thought for sure that was the law.  It should be.  Every expert recommends that children under age 13 ride in the back seat of the car.  I don’t know why you stop at 13, really. They say children to be 40% less likely to be severely injured or killed when belted in the back seat.

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